Hias Disputes Claim of Egypt Chief Rabbi That 500 Arrested Jews Released

The United Hias Service disputed today a statement attributed to the Chief Rabbi of Egypt, Haim Douek, that the 500 Egyptian Jews arrested in the aftermath of the Six-Day War all have been released. According to Gaynor I. Jacobson, executive vice president of the world-wide migration service, there are still an estimated 250 prisoners being held in the Tourah prison near Cairo. This information, he said, had been substantiated by the International Red Cross.

Rabbi Douek’s statement appeared in a recent edition of the North African weekly magazine “Jeune Afrique,” published in Paris. According to Mr. Jacobson’s information the prisoners were being released regularly until Dec. 15, 1967 and since then only five have been released. It is not clear why the Egyptian authorities stopped freeing the prisoners, he said, adding that in many cases, the wives and children of the prisoners still live in Cairo and Alexandria.

More than 1,000 Egyptian Jews have been helped by Hias to resettle since the Six-Day War. Just last Saturday 39 arrived at the port of Piraeus, Greece. They were en route to Italy and from there will join relatives in Western countries, the Hias official said. There are less than 1,500 Jews left in Egypt; before the 1956 Suez crisis there were 80,000.

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